Mother arrested after police view online video; child screamed at, toys smashed for not knowing ABCs
Post-Tribune staff report December 12, 2013 9:02AM
Updated: January 14, 2014 12:46PM
GARY — A woman is in custody after police said they viewed online videos showing her berating her child and breaking his toys because he wasn’t learning the alphabet.
In the video, the woman can be seen waving a sheet of paper at her 3-year-old son’s face.
She shouts, “Where’s E? Where’s E? Where’s E?”
The boy, crying and often coughing uncontrollably, stands before her, frozen.
“E! F! G! H!” she shouts in the video. “Say it!”
In the video, viewed by police and also by the Post-Tribune, the woman then drags the boy’s toys out onto the living room floor, smashing them one by one with a large white pole while he continues to scream. An airplane. A fire truck. Others.
The session was captured on video and posted Wednesday afternoon on YouTube in five parts. The videos have since been removed. They were available long enough, however, to get the attention of city officials and law enforcement.
Rosena Small, 25, of 1805 W. 5th Ave., is in custody pending felony charges of child neglect and child endangerment.
The boy is in foster care.
Parts of the video, which show the boy apparently struck with the stick and shoved out the front door of an apartment, were sent to the city administration, which forwarded it to the police department.
The five-part video shows about 10 minutes of the exchange. The boy wears his winter coat as his mother berates him, grabs him and tosses him on and off a futon and continues to shout the same letters of the alphabet. The child croaks out the letters between fits of coughing.
A male voice, presumably the person making the tape, makes quiet comments that are difficult to hear on the video.
The arrest came after members of the Narcotics-Vice Unit began surveillance on the apartment, waiting for a child welfare case manager to arrive for a 5:30 p.m. meeting with Small.
Small had previously been investigated for her treatment of her child, sources said.
When the case manager arrived, Cpl. Stephen Otten arrested Small.
Detective Alex Jones questioned her late Wednesday night.